Tête à Tête commissioned a tremendous first-time collaboration between best-selling novelist Iain Pears (An Instance of the Fingerpost) and virtuoso composer Philip Cashian to create a cliff-hanger of an operatic murder mystery.


If she screamed, did anyone one hear? If she was murdered, was there a witness? If she fell, why did it kill her? If she was pushed, who made it happen?


On 8 September 1560, Amy Robsart was found dead at the bottom of the stairs at Cumnor Place, the bleak and basic Oxfordshire house where she was installed by her husband, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, as he cavorted in London with Queen Elizabeth I.


Š—“I wanted to write an opera where the audience is constantly on the edge of their seats wanting to know what’s going to happen next. The Cumnor Affair is my first opera although I had the idea for the story about 10 years ago. After reading Iain Pears An Instance of the Fingerpost I thought he’d be the perfect librettist for an Elizabethan murder mystery and was thrilled when he agreed to write the words.Š— Philip Cashian



Performances took place in 2008 at the Riverside Studios, London on November 10, 12, 14, 15, 16


Guardian review CLICK HERE

The Times review CLICK HERE

This is London review CLICK HERE


Read the independent evaluation of The Cumnor Affair


Download the Cumnor Affair Programme Here.

The Company:


Amy Robsart: Amy Carson

Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester: Andrew Rees

Cecil: Robert Gildon

Walsingham: Roderick Earle

Toby: Damian Thantrey

Catherine: Phyllis Cannan

Conductor: Tim Murray

Director: Bill Bankes-Jones

Ensemble: Chroma

Lighting Designer: Mark Doubleday

Designer: Tim Meacock